Is it the end of the cigarette age?

Is it the end of the cigarette age?
André Calantzopoulos at Concordia Annual Summit 2019. © PMI Global Studio

The era of cigarettes will soon come to an end, and the world will abandon traditional cigarettes in 10 to 15 years, predicted Andre Calantzopoulos, the CEO of the world’s largest tobacco company, Philip Morris.

The entrepreneur pointed out that proper government stimulation and support from civil society are needed for this scenario to be accelerated.

“A future in which cigarettes are obsolete is within reach. In fact, with the right regulatory encouragement and support from civil society, we believe cigarette sales can end within 10 to 15 years in many countries,” stated in a speech published by the company’s press service.

According to Calantzopoulos, cigarettes are the most harmful way to consume nicotine due to the need to inhale smoke. In this regard, the company intends to continue to focus on the production of cigarette substitutes.

“For Philip Morris International, science has changed our company and is transforming our industry (…) already, more than 11.2 million people have switched to our main smoke-free product and stopped smoking. Many more have switched to other smoke-free alternatives that are better than continued smoking. This is a profound public health achievement,” said the CEO of the multinational, referring to IQOS, the system developed by Philip Morris that heats tobacco instead of burning it. The businessman added that “this is a great public health achievement.”

According to Calantzopoulos, political agendas and ideology are holding back progress, keeping millions of people uninformed of alternatives to cigarettes.

“Science secures progress. It secures solutions. (…) We should not allow science to be politicized and polarized,” he said.

However, public health specialists point out that one of the alternatives to tobacco, which are electronic cigarettes, is not as harmless as its producers try to present it, since its emissions contain harmful chemical substances that can be suspended in the air and settle on nearby surfaces.